ISLAMABAD – As Pakistan continues to grapple with droughts, heavy rains and floods, it has launched a seven-year National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for the first time in its history to deal with the adverse impact of climate change.
According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, a gradual rise in temperature and periodic heatwaves will decrease water availability, unpredictable and severe monsoons will cause more floods and droughts and the sea level rise will encroach on coastal settlements, infrastructure and ecosystems.
The climate change ministry says the NAP will address issues in various sectors such as water, agriculture, forestry, coastal areas, biodiversity and other vulnerable ecosystems. It will ensure water, food and energy security for the country and minimise the impact of natural disasters on the economy, human life, health and property.
The document shared by the Ministry of Climate Change says, “The overall impact of climate change, if not addressed, will exacerbate Pakistan’s economic susceptibility and could resultantly reduce annual GDP by up to 20 percent per year by 2050.”
It says, “Adaptation for sustainable and resilient development is more a necessity than a choice for Pakistan. It is thus critical – and is an essential component of a sustainable and equitable growth strategy – to build resilience and adapt to climate risks.”
The NAP is part of an international initiative established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF) that resulted from the realization of the fragmented nature of adaptation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the need to make it cohesive. It focuses on synergizing diverse forms of knowledge (scientific, indigenous and traditional) as critical policy pathways for achieving required transformation in priority areas.
For instance, the main targets for water conservation include a 20 percent increase in water use efficiency through modern irrigation techniques, refurbishment of irrigation infrastructure, real-time monitoring of water distribution for transparent water accounting and development of a unified authentic database to have reliable water resources assessment. To achieve this, the government last year allocated Rs90.312 billion (10 percent of total PSDP) for 91 water sector development projects and studies, according to the document.
The document adds, “The National Adaptation Plan is aimed at setting out what the government will do to support efforts across all levels of government, business, and the community, to better anticipate, manage and adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
“It involves a range of broad, cross-sectoral challenges. An effective national adaptation response requires coordinated action across the natural, built, social and economic domains to the strength of the economy, adhere to national security, the resilience of our society and operation of natural systems.”
“The reduction of vulnerability will be achieved by building adaptive capacity and resilience and through the implementation of adaptation actions… including facilitating the integration of climate change adaptation into existing strategies, policies, legal frameworks, and programs,” the document read.
“Climate change will impact each domain differently. It is important to recognize that within the four domains are individuals, businesses, communities, organizations and governments, all facing unique challenges and barriers. To respond to these challenges, we need to work together on tailored, co-designed solutions.”
The ministry said the two main objectives of the process were to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity, and to facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into relevant new and existing policies, programs, and activities, in particular development planning processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors.
Initial guidelines for the formulation of NAP were divided into four main elements, including laying the groundwork and addressing gaps, preparatory elements, implementation strategies, and reporting, monitoring, and review of climate-related events, it added.